MY JAW CLICKS AND IS PAINFUL
“J”, a college student outside of California, came to Los Angeles and visited the clinic with his parents during winter break. Within a span of one semester, his parents noticed with their naked eyes that his face became asymmetrical where the jaw joint of one side is twisted, and he was highly sensitive because of the clicking noise and nerve pain whenever he opened his mouth.
Examination showed facial asymmetry and temporomandibular disorder where the jaw clicks and induces pain; mental sensitivity increases, causing neck and shoulder stiffness and migraine. Symptoms improved with acupuncture treatment for relief of muscle tension and chiropractic treatment for balance adjustment. He also applied TMJ Balancing Appliance to prevent anymore twisting of the jaw by the end of break.
The following are signs of having temporomandibular disorder: the jaw clicks when yawning or opening the mouth, there is pain in the masticatory muscles and jaw bone anterior to the ear when chewing, the mouth does not open easily and makes a sound, or there is headache, dizziness, depression, insomnia, chronic stress, indigestion, etc. The reasons behind temporomandibular disorder include bad posture, trauma, malocclusion, and psychological factor like stress. Preference for hard and chewy food, clenching of teeth, grinding of teeth while sleeping, chewing of one side, resting of chin over hand, or sleeping on the side affect the jaw joints.
Malocclusion, which directly affects the jaw joints, actually is not limited to only superficial symptoms of imbalance between right and left jaw joints. It also affects the skeletal system of the whole body, balance of posture, and furthermore, it affects signaling of the nervous system. Additionally, stress, anxiety, depression, and hypersensitiveness causes tensing up of muscles and ligaments around the neck and jaw, and they promote temporomandibular joint disorder by inducing habits of clenching and grinding of teeth while sleeping.
Usually, initial symptom of jaw clattering is neglected as trivial because it does not greatly affect everyday lifestyle; however, people seek for examination only when there is pain and it disturbs lifestyle. Preventative and early treatments are important because restoration of disarranged jaw is difficult. The following are self-diagnostic tests to look for any problem in the jaw joints:
Opening and closing of mouth is uncomfortable.
The joint clicks when opening the mouth, clatters while it moves.
Region around the jaw is achy and painful, while the neck or shoulder all the way up to the head is are stiff or painful.
Insertion of three fingers (about 4-5 cm) lined up vertically by the opening of mouth is difficult.
Closing of the mouth is difficult after yawning or opening the mouth wide.
You cannot leave the jaw alone but keep moving it.
There is grinding of upper and lower teeth.
There are signs of dizziness, tinnitus, tearing of eyes, numbness, change of taste, etc.
After self-testing for temporomandibular joint disorder, consultation with a specialist, finding the reason behind the disorder through X-ray or MRI examination, and receiving appropriate treatment are recommendable.
Effective treatments for temporomandibular disorder include MSAT (Motion Style Acupuncture Treatment), which relieves tension of muscles responsible in maintaining balance of the jaw joints, and Chuna Herbal Formula, which reduces inflammation around the joints to alleviate pain. Chuna adjustment treatment and TMJ Balancing Appliance (applied every night about the same time) not only help in temporomandibular joint balancing but also in whole body balancing. Treatment for temporomandibular joint balance can last up to three to six months depending on the intensity of the patient’s symptoms.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on March 18th, 2014.